Jonathan and Lex learn the results of the senatorial election. Clark makes a fateful decision to reveal his secret to Lana, but Jor-El makes good on his prediction that Clark will lose a loved one forever.
→ see also Category:Screencaps from episode 5x12
Clark is sitting in his loft holding a piece of coal. He looks like he is seriously contemplating something very important. Lana appears behind him, and says she's ready to go wherever he promised to take her, but she can't figure out why she needs snow gear. He takes her to the Kawatche Caves, where they are transported to the Fortress of Solitude.
Lana is in shock as she looks around at the Fortress. Clark then reveals his powers to her by lifting her into his arms and making a super-powered leap onto a cliff above them. They land, and she asks how many times was he there saving her life without her knowing. Clark then surprises her again as he crushes the piece of coal and turns it into a diamond, and uses heat vision to seal it into a ring. He then proposes to her. He tells her she doesn't have to answer right then and says he'll give her some time to think, considering that his secret is a big thing to deal with.
They return to Smallville, and Clark tells his parents he proposed to Lana. Jonathan tells him that Clark is old enough to make his own decisions without the advice of his father, and that he and Martha are happy for him. Lana goes to the Talon apartment where she arrives just in time to stop Lois from falling off of a chair. She tells Lois that she has a big decision to make. At the same time, Clark goes to the Daily Planet, and tells Chloe about his proposal. Chloe is surprised, but happy for her friends. She tells him that he is lucky to know so soon exactly what he wants in life. Lana goes to the Kent Farm and accepts Clark's proposal.
Lois is holding an election party for Jonathan at the Talon, where she announces to the crowd that Jonathan has won his bid against Lex for Kansas State Senator, resulting in much celebration. During the party, Jonathan gets a mysterious call and angrily agrees to meet the caller. Lana gets a call from Lex. She goes to his mansion where he is drunk and depressed over losing the election. He notices Lana's engagement ring and asks Lana why would she accept it when Clark has lied to her so many times. Lex then realizes that Lana knows Clark's secret. Desperate to find out what it is, he grabs her and yells at her. She runs off and Lex follows her.
As Lana speeds away with Lex chasing after her, she calls Clark. She tells him that Lex knows that she knows his secret and tells Clark where she is. Distracted, she turns just in time to see a school bus. The bus slams into her car, causing it to flip several times, killing her. Clark super speeds onto the scene, witnessed by Lex, only to realize he's too late to save Lana. Jonathan, on his way to meet the mystery caller, stops on the side of the road and pulls a devastated Clark away from Lana's body, telling him there was nothing he could do.
Clark realizes that Lana's life is the price that Jor-El promised to collect when he resurrected Clark. He goes to the Fortress of Solitude and pleads with him to fix it. Jor-El gives Clark a crystal that will reset the day back to the beginning. However, he warns Clark that fate cannot be stopped, meaning that even if Clark saves Lana, someone else will die. When Clark takes the crystal, he is suddenly back in his barn holding the piece of coal.
Lana appears behind him just as she did at the start of the episode, and Clark has to make up a reason why he invited her over. Lana quickly realizes Clark is hiding something from her again and she breaks up with him. Depressed, Clark goes to Metropolis and tells Chloe everything, including how he had already lived the day, and about his proposal to Lana. Chloe is shocked to hear about all of it, but promises to keep an eye on Lana to prevent the accident.
That night, Clark goes to the party alone. When the news announces Jonathan's victory, Clark realizes that Lois is missing, and finds her on the floor of her apartment unconscious as Lana wasn't there to keep her from falling. The ground is covered in water (as Lois had started running a faucet before standing on the chair) and just as Clark picks up Lois, there's an electrical short and Lois narrowly escapes death. She is sent to the hospital with minor injuries. Lana arrives at the party with Chloe, but Lex still calls, and Lana still goes to Lex's mansion. Lex kisses her and, again, upsets her. She speeds away, and Lex follows to try to apologize. But this time, Clark stops the bus before it hits Lana. However, he sees Lex consoling Lana about their breakup.
This time, Jonathan arrives at his destination, which turns out to be a secret meeting with Lionel Luthor back at the Kent Farm. Lionel shows something to Jonathan that throws him into a rage, and they get into fisticuffs. Jonathan dismisses Lionel and laboriously walks into the yard, breathing heavily. Martha and Clark drive up and catch him as he stumbles to the ground. After taking a final, loving look at his family, Jonathan dies in their arms as Martha and Clark beg him to wake up.
Soon it is the day of Jonathan's funeral. As he and Martha quietly prepare, Clark is overcome with guilt knowing that his desire to save Lana ended up costing him his father. Martha tells Clark that he can't feel guilty because even if he had the chance, he would never have been able to choose between Jonathan and Lana. He confesses to her that he doesn't know if he can be the man Jonathan wanted him to be without him there to guide him. Martha assures him that he is already becoming a man Jonathan would be proud of. Clark helps Martha put on her necklace, and the devastated mother and son hug each other as they try to come to terms with what's happened.
All of Clark's close friends and several other Smallville residents attend Jonathan's funeral at Smallville Cemetery, including the Luthors; Lex stands in the back, unseen. Lana comes over and holds Clark's hand as others leave. Clark is the last person at the grave site. Alone and guilt-ridden, he picks up a handful of dirt and sprinkles it into his father's grave.
- Tom Welling as Clark Kent
- Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang
- Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor
- Erica Durance as Lois Lane
- Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan
- John Glover as Lionel Luthor
- Annette O'Toole as Martha Kent
- John Schneider as Jonathan Kent
Special Guest Star
- Marrett Green as TV News Anchor
- Kimani Ray Smith as Bus Driver
- Vanesa Tomasino as Secretary
- Preston Cook as Angry Young Suit
- Chris Shields as Courier
- "You're Beautiful" - James Blunt
- "I Grieve" - Peter Gabriel
- Reckoning is "an accounting, as for things received or done" or "an appraisal or judgment"
- In this episode, Jonathan's death satisfies two debts to Jor-El. In Season Five's Hidden, Jor-El restores Clark's life, telling him that "the life force that has been returned to you will soon be taken from someone you love". Also, in Season Three's Exile, Jonathan told Jor-El he would sacrifice anything for his son; in return, he was given Kryptonian superpowers so that he could retrieve Kal from Metropolis.
- Antagonist: Lex Luthor (in the first timeline) and Lionel Luthor (in the second timeline).
- This is the 100th episode of the series.
- The writers knew what they were going to title this episode sometime beforehand.
- In this episode, Clark uses a crystal to travel back in time. Jor-El warns Clark that this can only be done once. Contrary to that statement, unless the Fortress travels back in time with Clark, the crystal that allowed him to time-travel would still be within the Fortress and would be unused later in the episode; which potentially allows for infinite time travel back to that or any other day. That is unless the crystal traveled back in time with Clark and incinerated on arrival in the past.
- Jor-El's access to time travel technology brings up the question of why he did not save or warn the people of Krypton of their impending destruction. It's possible he did try only to get a result as disastrous as Clark's attempt at time travel here.
- Clark uses the following abilities in this episode: super strength, super speed, heat vision, super memory, invulnerability and super leaping.
- This episode marks the last newly filmed footage of the Kawatche Caves. They make a brief appearance in Vessel, but it was reused footage from an earlier episode.
- This is the only episode that shows what happens during the transition from the cave to the Fortress when Clark puts the Key into the Kawatche cave table.
- Clark revealing his powers to Lana by making a super-powered leap is similar to Jor-El revealing his powers to Louise McCallum by flying in Relic.
- When Clark crushes the coal into a diamond and opens his hand, the diamond is already cut and sparkling. Diamonds in the rough require careful cutting and polishing before they become jewelry.
- When Lana says yes to Clark's proposal in the Kent's yard on the screenshot of Lana it is snowing but in the screenshot of Clark it isn't snowing. Plus when they zoom out of the shot while their still talking about the proposal you can notice that as snow falls around them it isn't in their hair or on their clothes then at the end of the scene outside Lana magically has snow in her hair.
- The previews for this episode showed Jonathan pinned up against a post by Lionel in the Kent barn, and Lionel punching Jonathan in the face. In the actual episode, it only showed Jonathan punching Lionel.
- This episode is sometimes edited for content. In the original cut, Lana is shown being thrown about inside the car and her battered body lying outside as Clark kneels next to her. The less-graphic edited version shows only the blood on Clark's hands.
- Promotional pictures for this episode show Clark at the Fortress with Jonathan's body, a scene that was cut, but can be seen on the Season Five DVD set. In the scene, Clark pleads with Jor-El to bring Jonathan back, but Jor-El does not respond and Clark tearfully apologizes to Jonathan.
- When Clark is in the cemetery during the funeral, there is a shot of him with a stone angel in the background. Similar shots are shown in every episode where Clark visits a graveyard.
- Interestingly enough, in Pilot, Jonathan Kent asks Clark if he's okay. When Clark replies "Can I answer that in about 5 years?" Jonathan says "Yeah". But in this episode, Jonathan dies. And it has been 4 and half years.
- When Jonathan wins the election, his name is spelled incorrectly as "Johnathan" on the television in the background.
- This is the 5th time Lex has discovered Clark's secret but was prevented from remembering it as the timeline changed. The other times were in Hug, Slumber, Shattered and Onyx.
- The scene where Clark arrives at the car-crash, is very similar to a scene in Tempest where Clark also superspeeds his way, to find Lana either trapped, or killed in a car accident. It also shared similarities with Truth in which he saves Chloe from a car crash on a bridge.
- Interestingly, Jonathan's funeral is the only scene in the entire season to include every main character (except that of Jonathan who is technically in the coffin).
- This episode is somewhat reminiscent of Lexmas. In both episodes, someone (Lex in Lexmas) knows they could end up with Lana if they make the right choices; however, it would also eventually kill her. Both Clark and Lex cannot accept that from happening, and make different decisions that lead to disastrous results.
- Seeing in Oracle, how fast Clark can move (he got to Honduras in less than 10 seconds) it is somewhat strange that he wasn't there in time to save Lana.
- Jor-El warning to Clark in Hidden that he will "face his darkest hour" comes to fruition when the artificial intelligence tries to claim Lana's life, his first love. When Clark reverses it, Jor-El takes Jonathan ultimately instead.
In Other Media
- Clark's crushing the coal into a diamond is a homage to the many times Superman has done this in the comic series, as well as Superman III (also for Lana, played by Annette O'Toole) and in the 1950s Superman series Adventures of Superman, in an episode called ‘Jungle Devil’. Also the Arrowverse’s Clark Kent AKA Superman played by Tyler Hoechlin crushed coal into a diamond to propose to his Lois Lane played by Elizabeth Tulloch during the Elseworlds Episode of Supergirl. They both appear alongside Tom Welling’s Clark Kent during the Batwoman Hour of Crisis On Infinite Earths.
- Lois tells Lana that, "I'd be lucky to end up with someone as honorable as Clark some day." This alludes to Lois and Clark's future marriage .
- This episode is director Greg Beeman's last as director for the series until the Season Nine finale, Salvation.
- Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum are the only actors to appear in all of the first 100 episodes.
- Lex spoke about the things Lana had wondered about Clark to him: Why he disappeared to Metropolis for months in Exodus and how he rose from the dead in Hidden.
- At Jonathan's funeral, Clark picks up a handful of dirt and sprinkles it over the grave, something he also does at Lionel's funeral in Descent, suggesting that Clark did regard Lionel as a father figure in the end.
- This is Clark's first time-traveling adventure. The second is in Apocalypse, the third in Infamous, with the latest instance being in Homecoming.
- Lana asked Clark if he believed in life on other planets at the end of Arrival.
- Jor-El was last heard in Solitude.
- This marks the 31st appearance of Clark's blue jacket red shirt outfit.
- This is the 20th and final appearance of the Kawatche Caves.
- When Clark shows he knows everything that will happen in the near future, Chloe calls him "McFly". This is a reference to the Back to the Future trilogy in which the main character Marty McFly travels through time (Marc McClure, who plays Dax-Ur and Jimmy Olsen in the Christopher Reeve Superman movies played the role of Dave McFly in the first and third installment of the trilogy, plus Earth Angel, which plays in "Relic" is played in the first two installments).
- When Clark tells Chloe that he has already lived this day, she responds, "What did you do, spin the earth backwards on its axis?" This is a reference to Superman: The Movie, where the Earth is seen spinning backwards when Superman travels backwards in time to save Lois Lane's life.
- This episode greatly resembles Groundhog Day where the main character has to relive the same day in an endless loop, with only him remembering the previous loops. The scene where Clark confides in Chloe and is able to predict the various minor incidents about to happen is reminiscent of a scene in the film where the main character confides in the woman he loves. The main difference between the film and this episode, is that while the film has the same day repeat countless times, the episode repeats the day only once.
- Clark: Mom, Dad, I have something important to tell you. I told Lana everything.
- Martha: What?
- Clark: Right before I proposed to her, in the Fortress.
- Lois: (to Lana) Look, I don't know what's going on, but I would be lucky to end up with someone as honorable as Clark some day.
- Clark: I've lived this day before, I kinda went back through time.
- Chloe: Great! What did you do? Spin the Earth backwards on its axis?
- Lex: (to Lana) Probably shouldn't have called. Shouldn't do a lot of things, but I, uh, seem to do them anyway!
- Jonathan: (to Lionel) We can withstand anything you bring down on us... because we have each other. That's what will always separate the Kents from the Luthors. Now why don't you ge-- why don't you get the hell off my property?
- Martha: A heart beats only so many times in a life. Your father used his more than anyone I know.
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